Google launched a Zagat app for Android on Thursday, which it says it rebuilt completely rather than keep elements of the Zagat app that pre-dated Google’s acquisition of the restaurant ratings publisher. The newly launched app is free, whereas the previous app cost $9.99, but users must have a Google+ account.
Google acquired Zagat a little over a year ago in an effort to compete with online ratings providers like Yelp. Google searches for restaurants display Zagat ratings in the knowledge graph results. Zagat includes reviews for more than 30,000 eateries around the world, according to Google.
Zagat’s apps for other formats will cease to work on October 15, and Google will likely launch new apps for iOS and Windows, if not also for BlackBerry, before then.
Zagat was the original social ratings format. The reputable guide book consisted of bits of customer reviews cobbled together by a human editor.
We’ve asked Google and some industry analysts why the company would require users to have a Google+ account to use the Zagat app and will update this post if we hear back.
Update: Ezra Gotthiel, a senior analyst with Technology Business Research, had the following to say about the Google+ requirement:
Google certainly likes being able to report increased Google+ subscriptions, but I think there is a valid excuse for requiring Google+ with some applications. Google+ is built upon a sophisticated access management platform, with a smooth interface for managing roles and permissions. Circles allows users to determine whose content you see, and who can and cannot see your content.